Archive for the ‘Equipment – Non-Power’ Category
Joel Salatin would be proud of this cheap and easy temporary turkey shelter. The turkeys used to be in the “turkey tractor” (the moveable pen that is now upside down on the old hay wagon). But they were getting too big, soÂ I just put a tarp over part of the wagon for rain protection, put the tractor on top as a rain porch for the food, hung the waterer on and voila – a movable turkey resaurant, hotel, and umbrella.
I had thought of building a small shelter for the food and turkeys, but this was much quicker and probably better than a portable shelter that would be prone to blow-over and perhaps not as easy to move as this one, already on wheels. The turkeys are all within a fence that keeps big critters like dogs and coyotes out, so they are free to roam a fairly wide range.
You’re all probably as sick of the heat as me, so I won’t even go there. Things have slowed down over the past few weeks. But today GJ got out to build some bee frames.
But today GJ got out to build some bee frames.
It’s practically an assembly line with Martin to help paint!
The gourd tunnel is finally in full force. Check out the same place in April.
There is still a cabbage or two underneath, but most of the cauliflower and broccoli are gone and it is time for the gourd to have its time in the sun.
The humble garden cart gets my vote for the most indispensable piece of equipment on the farm. We bought one of the Vermont Carts new and picked up another at an auction. They are the best money ever spent on the farm. We’ve had one ten years and it is still works as well as the day we put it together. It is sturdy, very easy to push, fits through gates easily, tips, and can haul hundreds of pounds if need be.
Now there is an alternative – the guy who brought the world the whiz-band chicken plucker has published plans to make your own cart.
After the soap is poured, it needs to sit in the molds until you can make a small indentation with your finger with some pressure – usually within 24-36 hours. Then it’s time to cut!
Linda positions the cutter at the appropriate width and slips the soap cutter down through the slots on the mold.
Here’s a view of a freshly cut block – you may be able to see the cornmeal flecks added to make “farmer’s lava” soap!
The cut bars are stored for 6Â weeks or so in a place where they can “breathe.” We usually cover them with a piece of fabric in these mesh baskets. It takes that long for the “soaponification” process to completely transfer the lye and fat to soap.
We’re getting ready for the first soap-making episode of the season this upcoming weekend. Last year I made a couple different styles of soap molds and the one with the hinges to open up the mold after the soap has hardened was a runaway favorite with the soap alchemists. So, today, I made a couple more.
The bottom piece is a mold all ready to pour soap. The top shows a mold extended, as you would unfold it after the soap had hardened. The smaller pieces can slide wherever you’d like in the mold, depending on how much soap you have to pour. The small slit on the right side is where a soap cutter can slide in to cut the soap.
Today some nagging things were completed. I’ve long disliked the placement of the metal machine shed on the property (it predates our arrival on the farm). It presents a wall of steel driving into the farm, blocks the view of the pasture to the east and is generally ugly. I’ve always wanted to put up some greenery, so to help the hops we planted as an experiment, I put up a 16 foot cattle panel on end. It was a bit trickier than I anticipated, needed to get the tractor loader out to lift it into place.
The hops can grow 30 feet tall, so even this seemingly tall structure is still undersized. If it works out, we will add sections in future years.
I also got the deck on the small trailer built – I made the deck detachable using pins to hold it to the frame, so I could take advantage of the trailer’s variable length. This deck was built in the short position – when I build a longer deck, I’ll just have to pull the 4 pins, extend the trailer and swap out decks.
I also got 80 or so feet of Christmas trees fenced off in the pasture.
one year ago…
My old small trailer broke last week, so it was time for a replacement. I happened upon this one that was on close-out from Farm-Tek, usually $250, marked down to $112. I was pleasantly surprised with the sturdiness of the frame and thickness of the angle iron used to make it.
It can vary in length from 60-92 inches. My next move is to make a deck for it (maybe a couple of different lengths) and begin hauling. I do have a weakness for trailers/wagons. I have the same weakness for spring/fall jackets. I’m guessing it’s better than having a weakness for cars/trucks and scotch!
Saturday morning is pancake morning, pretty much year round. This morning was buckwheat pancakes. Martin still has a hard time cutting the cakes, so this morning we gave him a pizza cutter and he loved it and it worked great!
The folks at Two Friends farm found a fire sale on some commercial scales at the local grocery store. The have/can be certified as legal for trade, so if/when we want to sell items by weight, we’ll be able to do so easily and legally.
I think we are on the 33rd day in a row of above normal temperatures – for all of 2006 there were only 16 days when the temperature did not get above 32 degrees.
So, I made another replacement gate and moved the post over so a cart would more easily fit through the gate.
Another 50 degree day. The kids are back in school. Once again the “Cone of Silence” can descend upon the household. Got down all the Christmas lights and removed the hanging door hardware from the old corn crib doors for re-use with new doors and started next year’s burn pile with the Christmas tree and old wooden doors.
Took a walk with Linda in the back pasture and started thinking about possible uses. So many options! Will keep you posted.
Got one rotting gate replaced.
This is a home-made design using a piece of a wire panel and treated lumber. It’s an original design and works quite well as affixing the panel lends lots of sturdiness to the gate. The heavy-duty gate pin on the bottom with a regular hinge on top adds to the strength and simplicity.
Here’s one of the most uniquely wrapped gifts of the holiday season.
It’s a shepherd’s crook – it will come in handy catching sheep whenever we need to catch sheep! No more running and lurching around like kids in a greased pig contest.
When the wagon runs low on chicken feed, it’s time to crawl in to push that last bit out. It’s the perfect job for a 5 year old boy.
Today’s high was in the 20′s along with NW wind, so in the shed was one of the nicest places to be.
The first Midwestern blizzard of the year went south and east of us – not a flake (of snow).